The Department of Urology enjoys a national reputation for innovative patient care, outstanding fellowship and residency training, and basic and clinical research.
Long a division of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Section of Surgical Sciences, Urology became its own department in July 2018, thanks in part to our growth to more than 40 faculty members who push boundaries in clinical care and research in this complex specialty.
We are home to one of the largest clinical faculties of any academic center in the country and national leaders in virtually every domain of urology. We are one of only a few urology departments nationally with adult and pediatric programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.
As an independent department, Urology continues to:
- Grow a comprehensive array of adult and pediatric services
- Create new synergies for research and training programs
- Strengthen its national reputation
We are committed to improving care and health outcomes for all patients with urologic conditions.
Providing Excellent Patient Care
As one of the busiest hospitals in the country for adult and pediatric urologic surgical procedures, the Department of Urology at Vanderbilt provides a comprehensive approach to patient care. We blend our innovative diagnostic, treatment, and research capabilities to deliver the best care possible while working to advance surgical approaches, including:
- Image-guided surgery
- Minimally invasive approaches
At the Vanderbilt Urology Clinic we treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Urologic cancers, such as:
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Incontinence and other bladder-control problems
- Kidney stones
- Sexual health conditions, such as:
- Erectile dysfunction
Our team and invests in the most advanced technologies – such as a 3D MRI prostate biopsy system – that enables the most precise biopsies and facilitates personalized treatment plans.
The large volume of procedures we perform each year ensures our patients receive the best care. Our teams are highly experienced. Milestones include:
- Performing more than 10,000 robotic-assisted urologic surgeries such as radical prostatectomies
- Completing more than 2,200 pediatric urologic surgeries a year at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, including:
- Innovative robotic surgeries
- Complex urologic reconstructions
Performing Leading-Edge Urologic Research
All Department of Urology faculty, residents and fellows take part in research projects [link to Research and Clinical Trials page 6.0] and studies, including enrolling our patients in clinical trials.
Our research efforts are expansive and far-reaching. We collaborate with colleagues in the departments of Engineering and Biostatistics and other divisions to improve care and ensure the best outcomes for urologic patients. Many of our faculty are active members of the:
- Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research
- Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE)
- MEDLab (Medical Engineering and Discovery Lab)
Some of our research interests include:
- Prostate cancer research, such as:
- Understanding what causes therapeutic failures for benign and cancerous prostate disease
- Evaluating comparative effectiveness and harm from different management strategies for prostate cancer
- Identifying patient-specific factors that reduce the effectiveness or side effects of different treatments
- Health services research, such as:
- Characterizing the downstream effects of prostate cancer treatments and outcomes associated with genitourinary malignancies
- Pediatric research (in collaboration with other departments) to identify causes for abnormal development of the kidney and urinary tract
Teaching Tomorrow’s Best and Brightest
The Department of Urology proudly supports one of the nation’s largest urology training programs, with 27 urological surgery residents and fellows.
Our trainees are selected from the top institutions worldwide and are expected to become clinical and academic leaders in the field of Urology. Many of our past fellows now hold leadership positions at Vanderbilt and other institutions across the country.
Urology residents and fellows enjoy a collaborative, fun-filled culture at Vanderbilt, we they are encouraged to study hard while also enjoying all that Nashville has to offer. We provide several unique opportunities through:
- The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and VUMC’s partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, residents and fellows receive unique training opportunities while serving a more diverse group of patients.
- The Division of Pediatric Urology and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, residents and fellows learn the specialties of pediatric urologic care.
- Our Global Health initiatives, residents and fellows plan and design surgical equipment for use in low technology settings. They travel with Dr. Smith to several different locations in Africa to teach local doctors the latest urologic techniques and to provide care to adults and children.
Improving Health Care Everywhere
Faculty within the Department of Urology works to educate urologists who are equipped to handle the most common and the most complex urologic conditions.
To achieve this we collaborate with urologists throughout Nashville and the United States. Our faculty and doctors are experts in their areas of expertise and provide second opinions and consultations for referring doctors and their patients.
Our faculty regularly presents research findings at industry and medical conferences, to share knowledge and best practices in order to improve urologic care for larger populations.
Under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Smith, we also work to build surgical training programs in developing countries. These Global Health programs are a department-wide effort. Our faculty, residents and fellows work with doctors in more than a dozen African nations, such as Malawi, Zambia and Eastern Congo. We:
- Develop training programs
- Provide surgical care and expertise
- Redesign surgical tools for use in less technologically advanced settings
Our teams apply what they learn from these global missions to their current research and patient are approaches.